Category Archive: Comic Review

Oct 20 2015

Hellboy (vol 10): The Crooked Man and Others – Mike Mignola

Most of this collection is The Crooked Man which is Hellboy’s first US adventure, but it is an interruption from the main story, and maybe that’s why I didn’t care much for this volume. It does have the benefit of having an actual Mignola drawn story, which–surprise!–is the best of the bunch. For the most part the stories are rather typical Hellboy accounts, which is fine, but it is upsetting to have to put on hold the main storyline, deal with some just okay tales, and realize that a Mignola drawn story somehow manages to be so much better than anything else. I think it must be that when Mignola writes for others he is wordier and when he is drawing perhaps becomes more free flowing. 

Oct 19 2015

Step Aside, Pops (A Hark! A Vagrant Collection) – Kate Beaton

I had read another Hark! A Vagrant collection–I believe the first one–and really enjoyed it, so naturally I grabbed this one. For the first half I was pretty disappointed; maybe the comics just weren’t as funny, or maybe the historical and literary references that are used as backdrops to these gags were just too unknown for me (sorry, my knowledge of Canada is limited). Luckily, I kept reading and really enjoyed the second half. Lots of fun, but obviously not for everyone. Vagrant

Oct 18 2015

Supermutant Magic Academy – Jillian Tamaki

This is the Canadian Tamaki’s first solo work and I’ve liked her other comics. I’m pretty sure this comic started out as a collection of absolutely random gags that largely involved teenagers in a school where everyone is either a Harry Potter witch or some sort of mutation. Eventually, our author realized she had enough to actually try to make a story out of them. So even though they are somewhat disjointed and rarely have a storyline more than a couple of pages (the longest one being the very end where she must’ve realized she needed some semblance of a plot), I got to say I really enjoyed it! The zany randomness of it all works so well with the teenage angst the characters have. If this was an X-Men comic about the students at school, it would be superb! Supermutant Magic Academy

Oct 17 2015

Gotham City Sirens (Book 2) – Peter Calloway

This comic deals with three female villains: Poison Ivy, the man-hater that controls plants and men; Catwoman, the cat burglar; and Harley Quinn, the insane former psychiatrist. At first I was concerned that it might be the cheap way of appealing to your average comic book geek’s libido, but it was actually pretty good, with stories (mostly by Calloway) focusing more on the relationship between the women and the problems the men in their life have caused. There was a bump in the road when one issue in the collection got sidetracked due to some company wide story, but other than that I approve. Gothan City Sirens

Oct 16 2015

Hellboy (vol 9): The Wild Hunt – Mike Mignola

Continuing with the saga from the last collection, the demonic hero, Hellboy, continues to try and not get killed by his numerous enemies. And, unfortunately, Duncan Fegredo is still doing the art that only Mignola can truly do. This collection starts to bring all the various pieces that make up the Hellboy mythos in order to tie it all together. Why Mignola brings in Alice who we really haven’t seen anything of (trust me, you won’t remember her) rather than one of the BPRD friends, I have no idea, but at least things are getting pretty hard core.

Oct 13 2015

Louise Brooks: Detective – Rick Geary

I greatly enjoy Geary’s works, especially his historical recounts of murderers. Perhaps because of this I am less enamored by his fiction (especially one wherein certain plot details are hidden and the ending feels rushed). While this was a fine work about a has been actress who stumbles upon a mystery, I’m more eager to read about real people and real mysteries. Sorry that you’ve been typecast, Geary, but if you do something great why not stick with it? Louise Brooks

Oct 12 2015

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites – Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson

I swear I’ve read some of these stories before but don’t know when or how. It is possible as many of them are reprinted from years ago. I’ll start by saying that I enjoyed this collection, but at the same time I can’t really say who I would recommended it for. “Okay, so there are beautifully illustrated, often very cute, pictures of dogs and occasionally cats, by Jill Thompson, and the story is about these dogs that go on adventures.” So far, so good. “And the adventures the dogs engage in usually involve fighting supernatural, demonic creatures.” Not the run-of-the-mill average mix of things. Still, I enjoyed it.

Beasts of Burden

Oct 11 2015

Chaos War – Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente

Seriously, it took two author to produce the worst comic I’ve ever read. The cliched plot of the end of the universe coupled with Hercules, of all characters, having supergod powers and, with the help of his super genius friend (because dumb jocks and super geniuses are always buds), proceed to do nothing page after page until they win and everything is back to normal. I read it all because I had to prove to myself that it could not possibly be this bad–but it was, and I’m convinced it is an inside joke meant as an insult toward comic readers because I can’t believe they thought this was anything less than awful. It’s posted under the October/Halloween theme because it is a nightmare to read.

Oct 10 2015

Hellboy (vol 8): Darkness Calls – Mike Mignola [Take Two]

I feel my original review might have been too upbeat in terms of having Duncan Fegredo doing the art here as occasionally he gets the style close enough to being right, but then there are other times…. Anyway, old enemies converge to taken down our demon child super hero. It’s been a long time since a Hellboy story was so involved (and that’s probably why Mognola just didn’t have the fortitude to draw it). I still liked it but it isn’t for casual fans of Hellboy. 

Oct 09 2015

Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv – Jack Baxter, Joshua Faudem, & Koren Shadmi

I try to reserve October postings for horror themed works to go with the spirit of Halloween (not really sure why), and considering that this work is about a terrorist attack that takes place at a kind of hippie bar in Tel Aviv, it seems to fit. It is an interesting work describing the events that led up to, included, and the aftermath of just one of the seemingly endless bombings that take place in Israel, giving details on the lives, loves, and personalities of various people involved. Apparently, it is made by the same people and relates to the documentary: Blues by the Beach. I have not seen it and don’t want to give false comparison, but I will say that while this work is very good it either needs to have several characters and events cut to streamline it, or it need to increase its length by about a third to do justice to the various characters. As is, it feels rushed and truncated, so that I felt I was missing some piece of information, or an important interaction that was cut from the final draft. This may not be true, but is the impression that I get. Still, a poignant and powerful read. mike's place

Oct 08 2015

Wytches (vol 1) – Scott Snyder

So there’s this girl, and she might be crazy, or she might be a killer, or she might be haunted by witches, and her dad is a children’s book writer or something completely unimportant to the plot, and the mom’s in a wheelchair (which kind of is important), and there’s all these mysterious happenings as first the point of view is from the girl and then it shifts to the father, and often it is just as confusing and convoluted as this sentence. The story actually has a lot of potential, but as I said with Snyder’s work before, he needs a very strong editor to keep him in check and in focus; as soon as the point of view shifted from the teenage daughter I really lost interest. Apparently and inexplicably this is an ongoing series, and while it is probably one the best things Snyder has done it’s too all over the place for me to invest time in. wytches

Oct 07 2015

Snow Piecer (vol. 1): The Escape – Jacques Lob

I have no idea why there’s any press behind this title; it is about a train carrying the survivors of humanity and is divided into classes, in other words, is it pretty uninspired metaphor of class struggles. Most of the comic is about an escapee who comes from the tail end and it is taken through the various train cars to meet the president towards the front. It is much more silly than poignant. Apparently, there’s a crappy movie based on it, which, like the other volumes in this series, I will not be participating in. snow piecer

Oct 06 2015

Hellboy (vol 7): The Troll Witch and Others – Mike Mignola [Take Two]

So I reread this collection and, apparently, liked it better than I did last time. Still, It’s more a group of independent stories of various quality and the start of Mignola getting other people to draw for him, which is the beginning of the end for the beauty of Hellboy. Read the original review

Oct 04 2015

Beautiful Darkness – Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet

At first glance it seems like a children’s fairytale book and you might just go and give it to a small child. And that small child might kill itself over the horror of this story. Apparently, there were these fairy creatures that lived in a person who died and they all must now fend for themselves in the harsh reality of the world. Most of these fairies are either evil or simply very uncaring and the death toll is enormous. The book is somewhat nightmarish which turned me off, but that is more subjective. Objectively speaking, there aren’t any characters in the story, just short hand so that your project personality upon them, and that, really, is what kills the story. beautiful darkness

Oct 03 2015

Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story – Anne Rice – Adaptation by Ashley Marie Witter

It’s been a generation since I read the original book, which I absolutely loved at the time, and obviously stuck with me enough that I could remember just about everything in this POV from the child turned vampire, Claudia. This comic version, which has a slight anime feel, nicely captures the story, although I don’t think it would mean much to those who don’t know the story it is from. Good job. 

Oct 02 2015

Hellboy (vol 6): Strange Places – Mike Mignola

For no logical reason I don’t have many Hellboy reviews, so let’s make up for lost time as I’m rereading some collections. I (re)started with this collection randomly, which focuses on the demonic looking hero as he wonders around in Africa, gets kidnaped by a sea monster, and fights a resurrected devil worshiper, all the while learning more about the mythology of his destiny to usher in the apocalypse. Hellboy stories are not for everyone; they are heavy on atmosphere and some action scenes and light with characterization, but Hellboy works perfectly as Hellboy and must be approached as is, unapologetically. As such I very much enjoyed this collection. 

Sep 28 2015

Thor: The Goddess of Thunder – Jason Aaron

I finally got around taking a look at this all new, all different, exactly the same Thor comic. So, something happened, blah blah blah, Thor is now female, or to be more precise, a female is now Thor, the god(dess) of thunder. In this short collection, Aaron does a decent job presenting a relatively interesting Thor comic wherein frost giants, dark elves, and evil corporations all combine to cause trouble. The problem is that there is nothing substantial in this comic that couldn’t be done with the old Thor. And in the end, is that not the point of having a change in a character, especially a substantial one such as a gender shift? thor

Sep 27 2015

Hawkeye (vol 3): L.A. Woman – Matt Fraction

Continuing my reading of the series, Fraction takes quite a detour by focusing the comic on the female Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, and sending her to Los Angeles. I’m not really sure what the point of this volume was, as Bishop is a horrible detective and superhero, and the whole thing seems to be more of a joke and the clichéd comment that everyone in LA is focused on youth and beauty. hawkeye

Sep 26 2015

Space: 1999: Aftershock and Awe – Gaska and Morrow

I vaguely remember the existence of this 70s television show, and perhaps even the flash of a memory or two, but nothing solid. It obviously was never as popular as Star Trek & Wars or Battlestar. Still, I wanted to like this comic and thought it might be good to have some sci-fi in the medium. Unfortunately, I don’t see how this will do it. It is based, naturally enough, on the pilot, with some extra stories from the point of view of the Earth left behind after a tragic explosion on the moon throws it into deep space stranding several hundred refugees with no hope of return (and devastating the entire planet Earth, although I don’t know if that was touched on in the show). The problem here is that the authors don’t seem to understand the comic book format. Let’s ignore that the art is rather weak with dull coloring; nothing to capture the imagination. The comic is incredibly wordy; each panel is filled with exposition, in a vain attempt to introduce a dozen or so characters. As I said, I wanted this comic to succeed, but I can’t understand how anyone expected this version to do so. [This image is actually sideways but I think it works better for this post.]Space 1999

Sep 25 2015

Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Oddly enough, this collection of short comics, ostensibly in praise of the famous sci-fi author, are mainly fantasy works, and, while there’s often potential, tend to be rather weak. I think it’s more designed to bring together some famous authors and sell some comics, rather than celebrate the work of Bradbury. shadow show

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